FUNDING PROMISE: Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Liberal candidate for Bendigo Megan Purcell at Bendigo Health. Picture: EMMA D’AGOSTINOThe federal government has promised “significant funds” for central Victoria to implement anice action plan.
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The Bendigo and Central Victoria Ice Action Plan promises to strengthen the region’sprevention and rehabilitation strategies.

Establishingan ice community action taskforce is at the heart of the plan, whichalso includesa community education program,ramping uppolicing initiatives like Dob in a Dealer, andadditional support and training for frontline health care.

The federal government has committed almost $300 million over four years to tacklingthe scourge of crystal methamphetamine in Australia.

At Bendigo Health on Friday, Health Minister Sussan Ley said most of themoney would fundrehabilitation.

“Because ultimately it’s a cycle and the hard-working staff at this hospital have to deal with a lot,” she said.

She saidcentral Victoria would receive “millions of dollars”to support new and existingprograms.

The money will be distributed throughprimary health networks.

“The primary health network approach is all about local communities saying what they need, not about a one-size-fits-all package from Canberra,” Ms Ley said.

“This is something that came as a result of our ice taskforce at the end of last year and the way it gets rolled out in individual communities is very much the responsibility of local leaders.”

Ms Ley said the funding would help improve the treatment process for ice users.

​“One of the key things we have torecongise is that if somebody crashes through the doors of the emergency department here, addicted to ice and withthe strength of 10 men, they go through a process of detoxing… but we don’t discharge them into a vacuum,” she said.

“We have to have lined up the supports.”

Bendigo Health emergency department director Diana Badcock wants to see fewer ice-affected people presenting atthe hospitaland lessdrugs in the community.

“Most days we would see someone affected in some way by drugs of addiction,” she said.

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